Valley Pioneer, GVID seeking water rate hikes - PART II of III

Golden Valley resident Michael Basile prepares to fill the three water cubes on his trailer at GVID standpipe located at Bolsa Drive and Estrella Road in Golden Valley.

BUTCH MERIWETHER/For the Miner

Golden Valley resident Michael Basile prepares to fill the three water cubes on his trailer at GVID standpipe located at Bolsa Drive and Estrella Road in Golden Valley.

This is the second of a three-part series of a study by Meriwether comparing the Valley Pioneer Water Company and Golden Valley Improvement District. These organizations provide the water in Golden Valley, and each are moving toward raising their rates.

GOLDEN VALLEY – VPWC is proposing a 24 percent rate hike because the last rate hike they received was in 2001. They have held public hearings in regard to their proposed rate hike and their request has been forwarded onto the Arizona Corporation Commission for approval.

Mohave County Public Works Department has put together a proposed water rate hike budget and will present it to the board of supervisors for approval. It contains a multitiered proposal that lowers the rates for some customers, but more than doubles for other customers. GVID last received a rate hike in 2007, and it went into effect in January 2008. The BOS will review the final budget presented to them Aug. 7, and then direct public works to hold public hearings before finalizing and approving the budget for GVID. The GVID is not required to submit their rate hike proposal to Arizona state officials for approval.

According to the county’s Public Works Director Steve Latoski, “… There is critical need to proactively build out the (GVID) water system production capacity, as well as make the water system operate increasingly efficient through modern upgrades.”

The county’s public works department identifies four important system build out and moderation projects at an aggregate cost of $2.8 million to meet near and long-term water system production, redundancy (to be utilized as a backup) and storage demand, as well as customer convenience through implementation of “smart, water meter technology.”

This includes constructing a new production well at the cost of $1.2 million, construct a new 750,000 gallon storage tank at the cost of $850,000 to strengthen system reliability and redundancy and attend to future increases in district demand, install new distribution lines to achieve a closed-loop system for efficiency at the cost of $150,000, and convert system meters to radio, electronic function to smart monitoring and billing at the cost of $600,000.

Both VPWC and GVID plan on changing their current meters to “smart” water meters in a timed-phased manner that is subject to procurement and funding opportunities. Smart water meters would permit water use data transmission from the device to the office by wireless communications, thus eliminating the need for an employee to physically read each meter at the various properties.

VPWC has six wells and 105 miles of distribution/transition lines, but that doesn’t include service lines from the water meter to the property line.

Of the six wells VPWC operates, five are designated as high production and pump about 850 gallons per minute, and the low production well, located adjacent to the VPWC office at 5998 W. Chino Drive, pumps about 220 gpm. They currently have 10 water tanks for storage. That includes: two 60,000; three 500,000; two 125,000; one 250,000; one 35,000; and one 85,000 gallon storage tanks for a total storage capacity of 2,240,000 gallons.

VPWC has plans to install another 500,000-gallon storage tank for redundancy, but there are no immediate plans to drill additional wells.

“The reason for this decision is because we purchased five wells and two booster stations from the old Duval Mine in Mineral Park during 2003,” Bobbie Wood said.

Even though GVID is larger geographically, it has only two operational wells, three water storage tanks – one 300,000 and two 750,000 gallons tanks. They have 497,000 feet of water transmission mains, including 380,000 feet of PVC pipe, 117,000 feet of asbestos cement pipe, and 120 feet of ductile iron pipe, and that does not include service lines from the meter to the property line.

One of the wells currently in operation by GVID suffers from arsenic contamination. According to Latoski, the Sacramento Valley Aquifer is comprised of volcanic rocks, and sediments derived from them representing the prime source of localized elevated levels in the ground water. Because of this, GVID utilizes arsenic filters that cost about $75,000 and are replaced every three years.

One of GVID’s wells had a catastrophic failure of its casing, and it had to be re-sleeved. Because of the repair, it caused the production level to dramatically drop.

Of the two wells currently in operation by GVID, one pumps about 700 gpm and the other, because of the failure of the casing in 2016, only produces about 200 gpm instead of the previous 625 gpm. GVID also has two nonproduction wells registered with ADWR that have arsenic contamination, but they may use one of them to supply nonpotable water for the road department.

The third of a three-part series of a study by Meriwether comparing the Valley Pioneer Water Company and Golden Valley Improvement District can be found in Tuesday’s paper.